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Stanford researchers awarded $17 million to study the immune system

Stanford and six other institutions were recently selected to lead a five-year, $100 million campaign to investigate how the human immune system responds to vaccines and infections.

The collaborative effort is aimed at developing safer, more effective therapeutics and vaccines. Information gathered from this effort will be used to create a centralized Web-based database that will be made available to the scientific community to promote and support human immunology research.

At Stanford, researchers will use a $17 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to establish the Stanford Human Immune Monitoring Research Center. The funding will also support projects to characterize the human immune system under normal conditions and learn how it changes following infection and vaccinations. According to the Stanford release:

Participants will pool samples collected from subjects, including people enrolled in clinical trials, children receiving routine vaccinations and patients with naturally acquired infections. They will use these samples to examine various aspects of the immune system, such as white blood cells, antibodies and signaling molecules after exposure to either infectious agents or the components of a vaccine, and will follow immune responses as they return to a resting state.

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